cloudy.png
Thursday October 21st, 2021 2:28PM

Jerry Burns, former Vikings coach known for wit, dies at 94

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jerry Burns, the colorful character who took over as the Minnesota Vikings' head coach in a time of turmoil and led the team to three playoff berths in six seasons, has died. He was 94.

The team announced Burns’ death. Vikings spokesman Bob Hagan said Burns’ son-in-law informed him of Burns’ death Wednesday morning.

Burns helped the Green Bay Packers win the first two Super Bowls as the defensive backs coach for Vince Lombardi. Then he joined the staff of another future Hall of Fame coach when Bud Grant hired him as Minnesota's offensive coordinator in 1968. Burns held the position until 1985 and became head coach in 1986, following Les Steckel's 3-13 season in 1984 and Grant's 7-9 campaign in 1985 when he was coaxed out of retirement.

“I met Burnsie at Iowa when he picked me up from the airport when I was visiting down there, and from that point on, we started talking football and never stopped,” Grant said in a statement released by the team. “We were on the same page a lot. When I went to Winnipeg, I’d have him come up as a guest coach. Our friendship grew over the years, and we became very close friends and so did our families.”

The 93-year-old Grant said Burns was a “very astute football mind” who “could see things on the field immediately.”

A Detroit native, Burns played quarterback at the University of Michigan from 1947 to 1950. He caught on as an assistant coach at Iowa in 1954 and took over as head coach in 1961, going 16-27-2 over five years before departing for the NFL.

Burns had a 55-46 record, including 3-3 in the playoffs, before retiring after the 1991 season. His 1987 team came on strong at the finish before losing to Washington for the NFC championship. He led the Vikings to regular-season records of 11-5 and 10-6 the next two years, both ending in postseason losses to San Francisco.

Many Vikings coaches and players over the years lauded Burns for his creativity on the field and for his sense of humor off the field.

“So many good memories with this man,” former Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer tweeted. “He was the funniest, kindest guy you will ever meet, and an amazing coach. He invented the West Coast Offense. RIP Burnsie, you were the best.”

Another former Vikings quarterback, Fran Tarkenton, said through the team that his Hall of Fame career would not have unfolded so successfully without Burns.

“He made everybody smile," Tarkenton said. "He was one of the most unique characters we've ever known, but it didn't hide his brilliance. I spent the last seven years of my career with Burnsie, and he saved my life,”

___

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Jerry Burns, former Vikings coach known for wit, dies at 94
Former Minnesota Vikings coach Jerry Burns has died at 94
7:20PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Virus-depleted Padres beat Rox 5-3 behind Caratini's slam
Victor Caratini lined a two-out grand slam in the sixth, powering the virus-depleted San Diego Padres to a 5-3 win over the Colorado Rockies in a doubleheader opener
7:14PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Baffert in spotlight for wrong reasons going into Preakness
Bob Baffert not physically being present at the Preakness isn't keeping his shadow from hanging over the race and the Triple Crown
7:12PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Documents: Firefighters could be fired for Bryant photos
Court documents say two Los Angeles County firefighters could be fired and a third suspended after some first responders took and shared graphic photos from the site of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his teenage daughter and seven others
6:13PM ( 1 hour ago )
7 Yanks coaches, staff have virus, Torres out as precaution
New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres was kept out of Wednesday night’s starting lineup at Tampa Bay as a precaution as the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 tests among the team’s coaching and support staff reached seven
6:11PM ( 1 hour ago )
Harden could return for Nets on Wednesday against Spurs
James Harden could return for the Brooklyn Nets after missing more than a month with a strained right hamstring
5:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
AP Top 25 Podcast: What lies ahead for Power 5 conferences?
A big two has emerged within the Power Five
10:58AM ( 8 hours ago )
Famed Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan dead at age 37
Former University of Hawaii star quarterback Colt Brennan has died
6:21PM ( 1 day ago )
MLB tells Athletics to explore relocation if no new ballpark
Major League Baseball has instructed the Athletics to explore relocation options as the team tries to secure the new ballpark it hopes for to stay in Oakland
6:08PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Football
Metcalf turns in respectable 100 time, finishes last in heat
Seattle Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf couldn’t catch the field in his heat of a 100-meter race at USA Track and Field's Golden Games in California
8:34PM ( 2 days ago )
Alvarez adds another title with 8th-round TKO of Saunders
Canelo Alvarez added another title belt in the super middleweight division, handing Billy Joe Saunders his first loss when the English boxer didn’t come out for the ninth round
1:03AM ( 3 days ago )
Wilson making quick connections in 1st week as new Jets QB
Zach Wilson is the new face of the New York Jets and the latest quarterback tasked with lifting the team back to respectability
2:59PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Virus-depleted Padres beat Rox 5-3 behind Caratini's slam
Victor Caratini lined a two-out grand slam in the sixth, powering the virus-depleted San Diego Padres to a 5-3 win over the Colorado Rockies in a doubleheader opener
7:14PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Baffert in spotlight for wrong reasons going into Preakness
Bob Baffert not physically being present at the Preakness isn't keeping his shadow from hanging over the race and the Triple Crown
7:12PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Pervis Staples, member of famed Staple Singers, dead at 85
Pervis Staples, whose tenor voice complimented his father’s and sisters’ in The Staple Singers, is dead at the age of 85
7:05PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Biden signs order to beef up federal cyber defenses
President Joe Biden has signed an executive order meant to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity defenses in response to a series of headline-grabbing hacking incidents that highlight how vulnerable the country’s public and private sectors are to high-tech spies and criminals operating from half a world away
7:01PM ( 26 minutes ago )
The 3 biggest US airlines are suspending flights to Israel
The largest U.S. airlines are canceling flights to Tel Aviv as violence flares between Israel and Palestinians
6:59PM ( 28 minutes ago )